Astellas and The Chris Klug Foundation Announce Winners of the 2016 Bounce Back Award
NORTHBROOK, Ill. and ASPEN, Colo., August 23, 2016 - The Chris Klug Foundation (CKF) is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual Bounce Back Award, presented by Astellas. The award goes to two transplant recipients who exhibit a great post-transplant quality of life. Winners were chosen by CKF staff and board members from more than 60 incredible nominations from 17 states.
"Each of the winners has an important story to tell. They are an example for others," said Margaret Long, vice president business communications and stakeholder engagement at Astellas. "Astellas' collaboration with the Chris Klug Foundation is a way to recognize patients who fully embrace their post-transplant lives and to highlight the possibilities post-transplant life can bring. I am confident that the winners will both inspire and give hope to other transplant recipients."
The winners and one guest each will win a trip to Aspen, CO, for CKF’s 11th annual Aspen Summit for Life weekend Dec. 2-3, 2016. CKF will host the winners in Aspen and provide flights, lodging and tickets to all Summit for Life weekend events. On Dec. 3, the Bounce Back Award will be presented on top of Aspen Mountain in front of 500 racers and CKF supporters.
Andi O’Malley, director of communications at Donate Life Ohio, nominated winner Donerik Black, of Englewood, Ohio. "I met Donerik 20 years ago and could never imagine back then that this is where his life journey would take him. Donerik’s connection to donation began in 2006 when he donated a kidney to his father. Fast forward a few years later- through a successful transplant and recovery for this father- Donerik’s health, specifically his heart, began to fail. In 2015, He was listed and received a heart, that he desperately needed, at the Cleveland Clinic,” said O’Malley. Prior to Donerik’s deteriorating health, he was a competitive BMX rider. He has returned to the sport he loves, competing in 40 local races and three national events. In addition to being active with Donate Life Ohio, speaking at various events, and raising thousands of dollars for research, Donerik is also active with the American Heart Association and was recognized as a Heart Hero in 2013.
Christopher Nalley, of Richmond, Virginia, was born with Cystic Fibrosis and at 20 years old he was put in a five month long drug induced coma to safely treat him for the pneumonia he developed. Due to the scarring and damage to his lungs he was listed for a lung transplant at The University of Virginia Medical Center and remained on the list for almost two years before a set of lungs became available. Christopher ran his first 5K just five months post transplant and says, “I had been a bench warmer up until that point. After the race, I was inspired to try everything I could athletically.” Besides athletics, Christopher focused on giving back by volunteering with his local Organ Procurement Organization (Lifenet) and United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), speaking to driver’s education classes, area hospital staff, and at local donor events. In 2007, he was asked to join the board for Donate Life Virginia as their Organ Recipient Voice, where he helped form a local Transplant Games in Richmond. Christopher helped the team gain popularity and funding for Team Virginia to travel and have uniforms for the Transplant Games of America in 2014 and 2016.
"Donerik and Christopher exemplify what we look for in a Bounce Back Award winner and we couldn’t be more thrilled to present the award to them this winter in Aspen," said CKF executive director, Lauren Pierce. "They have both have focused on giving back post-transplant. We look forward to honoring them in front of 500 CKF supporters at the 11th annual Aspen Summit for Life, presented by Astellas."
Becoming a registered organ and tissue donor is a way to have a lasting legacy, and it's as simple as going to www.chrisklugfoundation.org to sign up. For more information on this event or on the Chris Klug Foundation, please contact Lauren Pierce at (607) 333-4814.
About Astellas Transplant
For more than 20 years, Astellas has supported the transplant community. And the Company continues to look for new ways to help transplant patients. That's why we created Astellas Cares — a program that offers resources, guidance, and personal support for those on the transplant journey. Visit Astellas Cares at https://www.astellascares.com/transplant.
Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at www.astellas.us. You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS, Facebook atwww.facebook.com/AstellasUS or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/astellas-pharma.
About The Chris Klug Foundation
Founded in 2003, The Chris Klug Foundation advocates for organ and tissue donation and inspires those touched by transplantation. Chris Klug was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare disease for which the only cure is a liver transplant. He received a liver transplant and went on to win a bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, a mere 18 months post transplant. Soon thereafter, Chris started the Chris Klug Foundation. Learn more about the foundation at www.chrisklugfoundation.org